On Approval

Synopsis: Victorian London. George, the 10th Duke of Bristol, and his equally upper class friend Richard Halton are both broke. To live, George has had to rent out his London castle to visiting young American socialite Helen Hale. So the only way George has access to his own home is when he is invited to a party hosted by Helen. Much to George's surprise, Richard confesses to him that he is in love from afar with and would like to marry wealthy widowed Maria Wislack, Helen's friend who George considers a haggard, controlling, old (forty-one) shrew of a woman. Richard believes he has no chance with Maria due to the difference in their financial situations. Richard is surprised to find that Maria knows he is in love with her, she in turn attracted to him. However, to test if they will be compatible as husband and wife, Maria proposes they spend one month together in her mansion on an otherwise deserted island off the coast of Scotland, Richard who is to row to the mainland every night and row back
Rotten Tomatoes:
80 min

Oh dear, is this another war picture?

Let's go back to the quiet and

peaceful dies before the war.

So this is peace? So these are

the tranquil days of 1939.

Yes, for this is the age

of speed and noise...

so much like war you hardly

notice the difference.

This is the day of athletic

sports of all kinds.

This is the day for devotion

to the graceful art of dancing.

This is the day of the worship of

the beautiful wide-open spaces.

And of giving thanks for all the blessings

of the green and lovely countryside.

This is 1939.

No, this isn't what we want either...

although it's very pleasant.

Let's go back further

still to grandmama's day.

Don't you think it was so much nicer?

So much more stately and dignified.

Lazy days and gentle evenings undisturbed

by any harsh note of reality.

Yes these were the days.

Grandmama knew her place

was in the home...

although grandpapa could go in for

a stern life of dangerous sport.

Women were women and

they didn't forget it...

even if men forgot it.

And when they had finished their embroidery

and needed a thrill of excitement...

they could always unpick

it and start again.

While their men-folk roved

abroad, awheel awheel.

And you needn't think they

never had their moments.

A young man was more or less

expected to serve his wild oats.

Always providing that

there was no harvest.

But young ladies knew

nothing of all that.

They lived in a world apart

until the day of true romance.

The never to be forgotten

moment in a young girl's life.

So different from modern times.

Before the days of petrol rationing...

you moderners looked upon the motor

car as the most useful invention.

It's hard to believe

that the biggest thrill...

a Victorian girl got out

of a carriage... was this.

You can't get into much

trouble doing that.

Very little remains undiscovered

about the modern girl...

You can see she's beautiful,

know she's no fool.

But there used to be a song...

"be good sweet maid and

let who will be clever...

for she was clever

enough to be good"

And the result, you must admit,

was elegant and charming.

If she seemed at times a little shy...

it was because where the dashing,

stronger sex were concerned...

she had to be so modest.

She is gowned for the theatre.

And I wonder what it would be like,

that play she was going to see

Would it be dull and stuffy...

or would she hide her

blushes in the program?

They say it's very odd

and terribly daring.

Perhaps we're going to find out just

why they were called the naughty '90s.

I don't think he would know...

Nor would she...

Nor she,

no I'm sure she wouldn't.

But he might, you see he's a duke.

And if you were a duke in the

'90s you could do almost anything.


A cab would stop for you

without even considering...

you could scarcely

pay the fare.

Bristol House.

To Bristol House...

historic town house to succesive

generations of the dukes of Bristol.

Where many a lovely duchess of

Bristol have been at home...

for all the brilliant functions

of the London season...

attended by kings

and princesses...

by the cultured, the famous

and the aristocratic...

and even occasionally

by her husband.

But, George is a bachelor

and very hard up.

And so this 9th duke of Bristol...


And so this 10th duke of Bristol finds

himself in the unusual position...

of having accepted an invitation

for a ball at his own house.

Most remarkable.

Tell me your grace,

how did you lose your money?


Yes I know,

I mean you big money.

Big women.

A gay and charming scene...

but who is rich enough to be

able to rent this great house...

from a duke in need of money?

Complete with his

incomparable butler Parkes...

and a devoted staff of servants.

Only someone exceedingly wealthy.

But could anyone so wealthy be

also young and beautiful?

Surely only an American.

Well here you would say

would be a bride for George...

who would satisfy all

his trustees' requirements.

And indeed most of George's also.

But only in his dreams,

lying in bed in the morning...

can George contemplate

the idea of marriage.

In his waking hours the

thought fills him with horror.

He scarcely sees her.

Good evening George.

How nice of you to come.

Not at all Helen.

Not at all.

Well there you are, all this

wealth and gaiety after that...

would taste more acid than the pickles

from which Helen's father built his fortune.

As it does indeed to Richard Halton...

who hasn't the advantage of

wealth to sweeten the taste.

Being a friend of George's is

burden enough for any man to bear.

And for a man of the very highest

breeding and the very lowest income...

life is one long attempt to

accomplish the impossible.

Dammit sir, that's not cricket!

Poor George, it must be very sad coming

back to your own house as a guest?

Better return as a guest

than to remain as a host...

to a broker's man.

There's nothing for it George,

we must make some money.

Right, because I'm a duke

Richard, talk sense. Good luck.

We'll drink to the woman I love.

Don't be disgusting!

Look, here she comes,

the one on the left.

Do you mean to tell me you love Maria

Wislack? Have you no respect for age?

George, we must join them.

Well here we are again.

Somehow I'm able to

control my excitement.

Splendid. Shall I get you some fruit cup?

Or perhaps our dear revered old friend

Mrs Wislack will let us have slipper?

I'm neither you dear, revered

or your old friend. And I...

Naught naughty, it's the third time

you've spoken harshly to me tonight.

Don't do that.

You know how I dislike it.

If you had a little more brain,

you'd be in an asylum.

Richard and I enjoyed your joke immensely.

It was even something indigestible.

One of these days I will right to

The Times on present day matters.

That should be highly interesting.

I think it would cause a sensation.

That you can write a letter at all

should cause a great sensation.

I forgive you Maria, old

friends are old friends.

George, if you use the world 'old' with

me again I shall throw something at you.

Very well Maria, but when I reached

the age of 41 I was not asahmed.

My sister will be 41 in August.

You beast!


Am I a bounder Helen?

I don't think so George. Not really.

No I don't think so either.

Good evening Helen.

Good evening Angela.

Good evening George.

Good evening... Angela.

I didn't know you knew her.

Oh yes, we have a sneering aquaintance.


She's also strongly

fancied by my trustees.

Oh Helen.

Richard, is Maria very upset?

Oh terribly, I couldn't do anything

with her. Would you go to her?

Of course. Excuse me George.

I suppose it amuses you to

have made a woman cry?

I did nothing that could

possibly make her cry.

Didn't you, in a sneering way,

accuse her of being 41?

I did, but she's not crying

because I said she's 41...

she's crying because she is 41!

Well if you must know I'm

the same age as his sister.

That damn woman can't keep

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Frederick Lonsdale

Frederick Lonsdale (5 February 1881 – 4 April 1954) was an English dramatist. more…

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Submitted on August 05, 2018

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    "On Approval" Scripts.com. STANDS4 LLC, 2024. Web. 25 Jul 2024. <https://www.scripts.com/script/on_approval_15180>.

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